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Actresses Meera Syal and Julie Walters have said they are excited to be part of the cultural events surrounding the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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The pair were speaking at the Tower of London at the launch of the London 2012 Festival programme, which will see 12,000 events from music to theatre to art installations, take place across the country during the Games.

Walters will be in The Last of the Haussmans, a new play at the National Theatre, and says the cultural events around the London 2012 Games are a positive thing for the country.

She said: “It’s really exciting. It lifts the nation when there’s something going on. People need it.

“I think it’s brilliant we are part of a wider festival that isn’t just the sport.

“It’s gorgeous and a fantastic mix of stuff that’s going to lift London. I feel really proud of it.”

Syal is to make her Shakespeare debut in Much Ado About Nothing in Stratford-Upon-Avon before the play transfers to London.

She said: “I’m really terrified and really excited.

“I am thrilled to be part of the historic nature of the London 2012 Festival.”

Also at the launch of the festival programme were The Noisettes and Giles Peterson.

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